NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) – They traveled near. They traveled far. Tourists came to get a glimpse of Voodoo Queen, Marie Laveau’s famous tomb and to see where movie star, Nicolas Cage will be buried.
When these visitors got to St. Louis Cemetery Number One, they weren’t able to go in.
“So we walked all the way here and because our tour guide didn’t have the license yet, even though his company paid, we still couldn’t go in,” a visitor from Pennsylvania said.
This group of visitors to our wonderful city paid $25 per person to take a guided tour with Livery Tours. Their tour guide, Michael Naughton said his company paid the fee to allow them to go inside, but they just hadn’t received the proper license yet. Without the license, The Archdiocese of New Orleans would not let the tour group inside.
We talked to the Archdiocese of New Orleans and they said that Livery Tours did not complete the necessary paperwork in order for the group to be allowed in.
So far, the Archdiocese has issued 169 badges to tour guides who have properly gone through the registration process.
The Archdiocese of New Orleans is laying down the law. Starting on Sunday, March 1st, they required all visitors pay through “Save our Cemeteries” or with a registered tour guide. Tour companies will be required to pay $450 monthly or $4,500 annually for admission. The other option for tour guides is to get a 10 visit pass for only $300.
“We paid our $25 for our tour. St. Louis Cemetery #1 was the main thing we all wanted to see and now we can’t even go in. This is so frustrating,” Raul Mojica from Chicago, said.
Tour guides knew this day was coming, so they had time to take the necessary precautions.
“We will deal with the Diocese. Find out what the problem is. I’m hoping it’s just a paperwork glitch. This shouldn’t have happened, these people shouldn’t have taken the grunt of it,” Naughton said.
The Archdiocese decided to implement the new regulations after an increase in vandalism and crime.
Something to take note of is St. Louis #1 will be free to all Louisiana residents on All Saint’s Day and All Soul’s Day on November 1st and 2nd.